West Palm Beach car accidents injure thousands of residents every year. While the total number of fatalities caused by these crashes has decreased slightly over the past decade the total number of accidents has remained constant. Unfortunately, negligent driving remains as prevalent in our area as ever before. It is only through superior safety designs by car manufacturers that fewer lives are lost in area accidents. Our Palm Beach car accident lawyer works with many victims who have been hurt by the driving mistakes of others.
In an effort to crack down on dangerous driving, local law enforcement officers have installed red light cameras at many intersections. The cameras are designed to catch local travelers who drive through a red light. A photo is snapped upon each violation that allows authorities to identify the car's license plate number and issue citations. An investigation by WPTV News found that over the past 18 months Palm Beach County officials have handed out over 20,000 tickets to drivers caught by the red light cameras. That represents over $3 million in fines.
Law enforcement officials suggest that the main purpose of the cameras is to crack down on accidents. However, there is disagreement about whether these cameras actually make it less likely that area residents will be involved in a Palm Beach car accident. A nationwide study recently found that the cameras may have caused a slight decrease in overall crashes. Yet, a 2008 study focused specifically on Florida did not find any such benefits from these red light cameras.
A WPTV News study examining accident rates in Palm Beach country revealed mixed results. At two intersections the total number of accidents dropped by 33% and 36% following installation of the cameras. However, at one intersection accidents actually increased by 100% after the installation. In many other locations there was no noticeable change in crashes after the cameras were placed on the lights.
On one hand, proponents of the cameras explain that residents are slowing down earlier and stopping short of the white line in order to avoid triggering the camera. However, one local official who is opposed to the cameras said, "In my opinion, they're [red light cameras] going to cause more rear-end collisions." Whatever the case, it is important for the data to be accurately studied so that changes can be made if necessary to ensure that the focus is kept on what matters--reducing Florida traffic accidents.